Does Toothpaste Really Clear Up Pimples?

Anyone who says they've never heard of the toothpaste-on-a-pimple trick is a boldface liar or was simply blessed with perfect skin. For most of us, though, the following is a very familiar memory: While our adolescent selves tried to pop a pimple that clearly wasn't ready for that yet, our moms snuck into the bathroom, handed us the toothpaste, and told us about the life hack that would change our lives. Sometimes, it even worked, and we'd wake up with our skin looking Beyoncé levels of flawless. More often than not, though, the results fell short of the advertisements.

Similarly, we were all also promised that our acne-plagued teenage years would stay in our teenage years, only to later find out that they most certainly did not. These days, when we wash our face before bed and notice yet another new pimple, it may be tempting to reach for that tube of toothpaste to see if we just weren't doing it right when we were 13. Luckily, we no longer need to rely on trial and error to figure out if this beauty trick really works.

Experts agree that putting toothpaste on skin is a no-go

It seems like every day there is some new bizarre beauty trend to try out, and given the wealth of options at our fingertips, there's really no need to rely on an age-old hack that has no concrete evidence of working, other than the anecdotal advice that's been passed down from mom. And if that's not enough, experts also agree there are far better options out there. 

HuffPost spoke to two dermatologists who said, in no uncertain terms, not to put toothpaste on pimples. Dr. Neal Schultz offered a more in-depth explanation, saying, "There are no ingredients in toothpaste that make this method more effective than conventional treatments," and further added that if you did put toothpaste on your skin, it could cause "over-drying and even burning." 

Dr. Rebecca Baxt echoed that sentiment, saying, "Toothpaste irritates the skin, so some may believe that it dries out pimples, but what it really does is irritate and cause redness and peeling."

So, if experts agree this is a bad idea, why do people swear it works? According to Healthline, many kinds of toothpaste do include ingredients that, when put on a pimple, will cause a drying effect that reduces its appearance. However, that over-drying and burning Dr. Schultz spoke of is a reality that can easily be avoided by using proper acne treatments. And if you're the type that wants to DIY everything, there's no shortage of better DIY acne treatments than toothpaste.